Season in review: June-July

We move on to the middle of the summer in this Rangers season with our timeline today, which includes a memorable June that vaulted this team to the top of the division, a spot they never relinquished. Here is a look back at June and July, 2010:

June 1: Josh Hamilton, hitting a respectable .281 in April and May but looking for something to make his swing more consistent, eliminates the toe tap while the team is in Chicago playing the White Sox. He proceeds to go on a tear, hitting .454 in June and .418 in July to vault into a favorite for the AL MVP award.

June 2: A ball ricochets off the batting cages and hits Guerrero above his left eye. The slugger, who started the season red hot, is out for a few days, but is fine.

June 5: Tommy Hunter makes his first major league start of 2010 and throw a complete-game in a 6-1 win over Tampa Bay.

June 7: Texas selects OF Jake Skole (No. 15) and C Kellin Deglan (No. 22), RHP Luke Jackson (No. 45) and 3B Mike Olt (No. 49) in the first night of the draft and got all of them signed. That same night, Cliff Lee beats the Rangers, who fall a ½ game out of first. It’s the final time they are out of first the whole season after taking the next three games from the Mariners.

June 8: Lee tells ESPNDallas.com that he isn’t worried about where he might end up at the trade deadline because it’s out of his control. But he praised the Rangers offense. "They have a good team and good hitters," Lee said then. "Michael Young, [Josh] Hamilton, [Vladimir] Guerrero and others make it difficult to get through them. They have guys that can hurt you. You have to be ready to pitch against them."

June 12: The Rangers beat Milwaukee, 4-3, to win their eighth game so far in June. It was the start of an 11-game winning streak.

June 16: Michael Young breaks the all-time franchise record for hits as he hits No. 1,748 of his career in a win over the Marlins.

June 22: Rangers Baseball Express is hopeful that a plan set forth by bankruptcy judge Michael Lynn means, with some modifications, that they can have the sale completed in July. The judge appoints a chief restructuring officer to look out for the interest of the club.

June 24: The Rangers’ 13-3 victory over the Pirates means that GM Jon Daniels comes in with blonde highlights in his hair, payment for a bet he made with Elvis Andrus that he’d dye his hair if the team won 10-straight games.

June 30: Guerrero goes 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBI in a 6-4 win against his former team, the Angels. It is probably Guerrero’s best game of the season. The Rangers complete the month with a 21-6 record to go from tied for first to 4.5 games up because of it.

July 1: Catcher Bengie Molina is traded to the Rangers for reliever Chris Ray and prospect Michael Main, giving the club a veteran catcher well in advance of the trade deadline.

July 1: The court appointed restructuring officer recommends that an auction take place to decide who gets the Rangers. That same day the Rangers fall, 2-1, to lose a three-game series to the Angels and are 3.5 games ahead in the division.

July 1: Despite a 2-1 Rangers loss (and a loss in the three-game series to drop the lead to 3.5 games), pitcher C.J. Wilson proclaims that Texas is the better team. "We're the better team, 100 percent," Wilson said. "When we play up to our capabilities, it might not be that close. He added: “We have a better balance to our team. They have good pitching. We have more wins. It's pretty simple. I'd rather take our offense. I'd rather take our defense. I'd much rather have our bullpen."

July 4: The All-Star rosters are announced and five Rangers (on the team as of this date) made the club with Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero grabbing enough fan votes to start in the game and Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz making it as reserves.

July 6: In what could not be described as stunning news, Josh Hamilton was named player of the month for June. Hamilton hit a league-high .454 for the month with 10 doubles and nine homers. It was the highest batting average in one month since Chone Figgins hit .461 in 2007.

July 6: A fan, Tyler Morris, fell from the club level seats and onto the lower level, about a 30-foot drop. He ended up with a fractured skull and a sprained ankle and was released from the hospital two days later. He landed on a few fans who sustained minor injuries. The game, which the Rangers won 12-1 over the Indians, was delayed 16 minutes while paramedics got Morris onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.

July 8: The Rangers blow a 4-0 lead to the Orioles. They had a 4-3 lead in the eighth before things unraveled with two hit batters and a walk to give Baltimore the lead on their way to a sweep.

July 9: Texas acquires LHP Cliff Lee (and reliever Mark Lowe) from the Mariners for 1B Justin Smoak, minor league pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Leuke and infielder Matthew Lawson. The move gives the Rangers an ace to front the staff for the stretch run and what they hoped at the time was a trip to the postseason. Texas closer Neftali Feliz gives up a grand slam home run to Corey Patterson to blow a 4-run lead in the ninth and the Rangers lose.

July 10: A walkup crowd of 14,300 – the largest since Rangers Ballpark in Arlington opened – made it a near sellout for Lee’s first start as a Ranger. He pitched a complete game, but gave up three homers and lost 6-1.

July 11: The first half of the season ends with a Rangers loss to Baltimore, allowing the Orioles to cap off a four-game sweep. Texas is 50-38 at the All-Star break and in first place by 4.5 games in the AL West.

July 13: Cliff Lee throws six pitches – five strikes – and gets three outs in his lone inning of work at the All-Star Game in Anaheim. The Rangers sent an impressive six players to the game. All of them played but Neftali Feliz, who was in the bullpen, but never got in the game. The NL won, 3-1.

July 13: The bankruptcy court sets Aug. 4 for the auction of the Rangers.

July 16: Bengie Molina becomes the fifth Rangers player to hit for the cycle, legging out a triple at Fenway Park in an 8-4 Ranger win. Molina also hit a grand slam in the game. The Rangers ended up taking three of four from Boston to start the second half.

July 22: It was a busy day in court for the Rangers. Manager Ron Washington testified and was asked how the court proceedings were impacting the team. Washington said his team wasn’t distracted, but would be if the process dragged on. Judge Michael Lynn told Washington everyone was pulling for the Rangers to win the World Series and that he wanted Washington to assure the players they would be paid and nothing would change from their perspective. Also, Mark Cuban’s lawyer was in attendance and said his client was working on his due diligence and trying to get in position to make a bid at an auction scheduled for Aug. 4.

July 22: On the field, the Rangers beat the Angels, 3-2, as Cliff Lee outdueled Jered Weaver. It moved Texas six up on Anaheim in a game that was the most watched Rangers telecast in six years.

July 23: C.J. Wilson goes eight shutout innings as the Rangers get a 1-0 win over the Angels.

July 25: The Rangers defeat Anaheim, 6-4, and win the four-game series. Feliz saves all three wins to push his total to 28 for the season.

July 29: Second baseman Ian Kinsler goes on the disabled list with a strained left groin. Mitch Moreland is called up and becomes the starting first baseman. Texas also trades for Jorge Cantu, sending Double-A pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda to Florida.

July 30: The Rangers trade for infielder Cristian Guzman.

July 31: Just prior to the MLB trade deadline, the Rangers dealt catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Boston for three minor leaguers and cash.